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Spain in the Liberal Age: From Constitution to Civil War, 1808-1939

ISBN: 978-0-631-21913-2
448 pages
February 2000, Wiley-Blackwell
Spain in the Liberal Age: From Constitution to Civil War, 1808-1939 (0631219137) cover image


This book is the first single volume history of modern Spain to appear in over 30 years. It describes Spain's emergence in the nineteenth century as the first modern post-imperial power and examines the vast social and economic changes which Spain witnessed during this period. In lucid and accessible prose, the author provides a gripping account of 131 years of politics, warfare and social conflict.

Charles Esdaile places particular emphasis on crucial periods in the history of modern Spain. He shows how nineteenth century Spain was in many ways shaped by the Peninsular War of 1804-18, as the politicization of the army during this conflict cast a shadow over the century-long political struggle between liberalism and absolutism. Esdaile also demonstrates that the years between 1868 and 1874 were a watershed in the history of modern Spain. During this time the social and political changes of the century were consolidated and Spain emerged as a constitutional monarchy. Providing a riveting account of the events of the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39, this book shows that the result of the brutal struggle between the nationalists and republicans was the preservation of the social and economic order that had arisen in the nineteenth century.

Blending analysis with narrative, Charles Esdaile allows the reader to understand nineteenth century Spain on its own terms and to see how the seeds of the civil war of 1936-39 were sown by the failure of liberalism in the previous century.

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Table of Contents

List of Maps.


1. The Spanish Uprising.

2. The War of Independence.

3. Restoration and Revolution.

4. The Coming of Liberal Spain.

5. The Moderate Decade.

6. Revolution, Reconciliation and Relapse.

7. The Revolutionary Sexenio. .

8. The Restoration Monarchy.

9. The Gathering Storm.

10. End of Empire.

11. The Failure of Reform.

12. Spain and the Great War.

13. The Primo de Rivera Dictatorship.

14. The Republic Implanted.

15. The Republic Besieged.

16. The Republic Overthrown.

Bibliographical Essay.

Glossary of Spanish Terms.


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Author Information

Dr. Charles J. Esdaile is lecturer in history at the University of Liverpool and was previously Wellington Papers Research Fellow at the University of Southampton. He is also a member of the National Council of the Historical Association. His previous publications include The Spanish Army in the Peninsular Wars (1988), The Duke of Wellington and the Command of the Spanish Army (1990), and The Wars of Napoleon (1995).
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"Esdaile has written a masterly work of synthesis, full of judicious assessment, outspoken at times and authoritative in tone." Times Literary Supplement
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